First ventilators production facility opened

Updated 07 Jul 2020

Email

PM Imran Khan speaks to WHO director general in a video conference. — Screengrab PID Twitter
PM Imran Khan speaks to WHO director general in a video conference. — Screengrab PID Twitter

ISLAMABAD: In a significant step towards making Pakistan self-reliant in production of medical equipment, Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the country’s first indigenous ventilators’ manufacturing facility on Monday.

Separately, the prime minister in a video conference with the director general of World Health Organisation (WHO) raised the matter of coronavirus-related travel restrictions on Pakistan and sought his cooperation in withdrawal of those curbs.

“It is a landmark achievement for the country and I congratulate the entire team,” Mr Khan said after inaugurating the ventilators factory at the National Radio and Telecommunications Corporation (NRTC) in Haripur.

He said the government’s focus would now be on reforming the health sector. “Our approach in response to the pandemic and adopting smart lockdown while keeping the economy afloat has been widely acknowledged and now our focus will be on comprehensive health reforms.”

PM asks WHO to help remove virus-related travel curbs; says focus will now be on reforming health system

The prime minister lauded the initiative taken by the NRTC and the Ministry of Science and Technology for producing ventilators indigenously.

Mr Khan said the country had no dearth of talent to become self-reliant in new technologies and the government would extend support to all such initiatives to encourage the potential of youth.

Later, PM Khan went round various sections of the NRTC. Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Energy Omar Ayub, PM’s Focal Person for Covid-19 Dr Faisal Sultan and NDMA chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal were present on the occasion.

NRTC managing director Brig Tofique Ahmed briefed the prime minister about the history, sectors of research and development, products and services being provided by the NRTC. He said NRTC was indigenously making communications equipment, electro-medical equipment and hardware and software for these equipment.

Later, Prime Minister Khan during a video conference with WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom spoke about efforts made by the government to prevent spread of Covid-19 in Pakistan.

According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister Office, Mr Khan apprised the WHO chief on the progress made by Pakistan in containing the spread of coronavirus. Mr Adhanom appreciated the steps taken by the Pakistan government in fighting the pandemic.

Mr Khan appreciated the support provided by WHO to Pakistan and other countries in the fight against Covid-19.

He highlighted Pakistan’s strategy of deploying scientific and data-driven interventions as well as rapid upgrades of healthcare facilities while attempting to maintain a balance between life and livelihood that has yielded positive results with a downward trend in the spread of the pandemic.

He said travel restrictions imposed by developed countries due to Covid-19 were increasing economic difficulties for developing countries that were already fighting hard to mitigate adverse impacts of the pandemic on their economies.

He called upon WHO to play its role in engaging member states to remove Covid-related travel restrictions on Pakistan and other countries and work towards a data-driven system of non-discriminatory travel rules.

Dr Adhanom said that WHO was working on virus-related travel guidelines to help the international community make its travel decisions in the light of these guidelines.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2020